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Chapter 27: Peace Filled

On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

Acts 8:1

I remember reading this verse many years ago thinking, ‘Glad this doesn’t happen in today’s world.’  But it does.  Persecution of the church happens daily, of course we now associate this with ISIS.  My heart breaks as I read about the persecution taking place in the Middle East.  Children being martyred for their faith in Jesus.  I think about Loralie and Jack when I hear these accounts.  My heart breaks.  Not just because of these injustices taking place, but because my heart’s response is wrong.  I was so filled with anger.  Life for a life sounded right in this moment.

But God lead me to work though the book of Acts with our church here in Kraków.  In Acts 6 and 7 we have a beautiful example of the Christ centered response to Persecution.  Stephen had every right to condemn, to judge, to lash out in anger.  But he didn’t.

 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Acts 7:60

The message of Christ is controversial.  The message of Christ is love.  So next time we are tempted to respond with hate, remember this:  The spearhead of persecution towards the early Church, Saul, became the author to a majority of the New Testament, Paul.

This doesn’t make sense.  But God acts in ways that make sense to Him.  He takes what man desires for evil and uses it for His glory.  He takes the scattering of the church to fulfill what he promised in Acts 1:7-8.

How does this relate to the Graves Family?  We are trusting God amidst the unknown and uncertainties of our future.

This last month we have had some pretty awesome experiences.  We have been able to host a lot of people that God has used in some incredible ways to speak truth, love and mercy into our lives.  We had a fellow volunteer, Graham, visit and remind us that we are not the only ones who wait patiently for God’s voice leading us to the next step in our lives.  Sometimes God allows us to grow in perseverance before revealing the next step.  Our good friend Sarah came to live with us for <insert God’s timing here>.  What a voice of God’s truth she has been!  Michelle and I both thank God for the light she has been in our lives.  We also had the Sunbergs and the South Texas missions team come to town.  Talk about real people sharing real life!  What a treat to get to know these guys and gals more!  We only consumed roughly 1.5 kilos of coffee this month….God is good!

I know you might be wondering what I meant by the unknown and uncertainties statement.  So let me clarify:

We have friends across the globe that get asked the same question, ‘What’s next?’  What a challenging question to answer!  Sometimes God gives us clarity of the future, sometimes He lights our path.  Lately, God has been sharing His peace.  Every time we pray about our future, God responds in His peace filled whisper: “Wait.  Focus on the now and what is in front of you.  I will appoint you.”  It is not careless when you are following God’s leading.

I(Brad) have started a coffee blog (http://gravesabroad.com/coffeediem/) where I plan to discuss coffee origins, brewing methods, cafe experiences and reviews, best practices, equipment recommendations, ministry in the workplace, community, and discussing coffee shop ministry.  This is something that I have been wanting to work on for some time and feel that now is the right opportunity to begin.  Pray that God uses this for His glory…whatever that may be!
We have decided to keep the kids in school for at least one more month, maybe two.  This is a difficult decision to make (financially), but we feel that it is best for the kids and that God is encouraging us to keep them in!  They love their school and are big parts of the social scene.  They seem to grow daily in their Polish language skills, far surpassing my (Brad’s) knowledge.  This has opened some awesome doors for ministry and building relationships with the staff and families.

Michelle has been growing in her leading of worship.  God is using her in some pretty awesome and radical ways as she focus on the Lord’s presence.  Worship has never been better at Church!  God is so wonderful!

As you pray for us, please consider these requests:

  • For Sweet Surrender – Leadership shift, delayed reopening, and future business and ministry opportunities
  • For our Family – As we follow God’s prompting to wait in His presence and focus on the days ahead.  That we would be investing our time and resources wisely.
  • For our friends Sindy and Bojan, his father just passed away.
  • For our friends the Adams – They have a huge Gospel week long event next week.
  • For our finances – things are getting tight as we come to the close of our contract
  • For Michelle and I to continue to build relationships with those that God puts in our lives.  Sharing the hope of Jesus as opportunity presents itself.

How can we pray for you?  Email us please!  thegravesabroad@gmail.com
Financially support us at: http://web.nazarene.org/goto/TheGraves

We are so thankful for all the support you have shown our family!  God bless!!

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